Fairy tales have been part of our world since centuries. One of the best probably still remains the Cinderella tale. The Cinder child, the evil Step sisters, the Fairy God mother, The Pumpkin Chariot, The Glass Slippers, and not to forget, the Prince Charming! Cinderella is an example of how some fairy tales can still find their relevance in our lives. Be it the feminists or be it the critics, everyone wants to refer to the tale for some or the reasons such as the Cinderella Syndrome dedicated to women who want to do nothing but wait for their Prince to marry them or the infamous beginnings of the Corona Curfew for adolescents.
Curfews from Cinderella to Miley
Although Fairy God mother wanted to help Cinderella explore her Cupid Connection,she clearly put a curfew (if not the Corona Curfew)on her outing. She warned her about the consequences Cinderella would have to face if she stayed out past her curfew. And as we all saw,Cinderella did somehow survive the Corona Curfew. Just as we see the youngsters today like Pop Star Miley Cyrus talk about her curfews (if not the Corona Curfew) openly to the world.
But curfews (if not the Corona Curfew)have not always been so comprehend-able or pleasant for some of us. Although it is said that “History has no curfews” it does give us some examples of the Curfew, just as the Corona Curfew. One of the best that I read about during my Literature classes was about this poem written by Rose Hartwick Thorpe titled “Curfew Will Not Ring Tonight”describing an incident in the lives of a young couple in London.
“Curfew Will Not Ring Tonight
“Sexton,” Bessie’s white lips faltered, pointing to the prison old,
With its turrets tall and gloomy, with its walls dark, damp, and cold,
“I ’ve a lover in that prison, doomed this very night to die,
At the ringing of the Curfew, and no earthly help is nigh;
Cromwell will not come till sunset,” and her lips grew strangely white
As she breathed the husky whisper:—
“Curfew must not ring to-night.”
When Oliver Cromwell served as Lord Protector of England, a young soldier by the name of Basil Underwood was sentenced to die when the curfew bell rang. Basil’s fiancé, Bessie, begged Cromwell to save his life by giving him a pardon, but he refused. As the church sexton over and over pulled the rope at curfew, the bell remained silent. Young Bessie climbed into the bell tower and wrapped herself around the clapper to keep it from striking the bell. She refused to let go despite the injuries she was incurring. When she finally climbed down to the place of execution, Cromwell, deeply impressed by such heroic and sacrificial love, pardoned her betrothed from condemnation. Basil Underwood received a new life!This story and poem perfectly illustrates the Apostle Paul’s point in Romans 8. As Bessie sacrificed her own body to secure a pardon for her beloved Basil, Paul reminds us that Jesus Christ endured the agony of the cross to deliver us from our death sentence. He willingly sacrificed his body to free us from condemnation and give us a new life.
Unlike the Corona Curfew, the Curfews during 1975 Emergency in India did not present a single such incident where the authorities displayed their compassionate sides. Instead the emergency curfews provided an insight into how meaningful was the saying “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Indians were subjected to the dreaded Vasectomy operations, Newspapers and Cinemas had to go through the Censor Board scissors before printing anything. The classical music and dance classes terminated all over the country, people waited at home afraid of being picked and put in jail for no rhyme or reason.
One such curfew memory of my childhood came back when I heard Modiji suggest the Corona Curfew yesterday. It is truly believed that a man becomes what s/he has has experienced in his childhood or youth. The mind decides whether to call a memory pleasant or unpleasant, positive or negative. As a young lass, I used to spend my summer vacations at my aunt’s home in Vadodara,Gujarat. In those days, Gujarat was not such a peaceful state and religious riots would spark off for any silly reasons. In fact, reasons were many and easy to find for all who were in this business.
My Best Curfew Memories
Once when we had gone to visit a friend who stayed far away from my aunt’s place; we were quickly summoned back by my cousin hastily on a Lambretta as he said “the Curfew has started” That was the first time I heard the word. For me it meant nothing till I saw for the next few days that unlike the Corona Curfew which is going to be self imposed, that one was Government imposed and there were state authorities roaming out to punish those who broke the norms of the Curfew. It meant we could go out of the house only for an hour in the day time and again for an hour in the evening. So now the visits to the parks and Sur Sagar lake, eating Dhokla, chaat, Panipuri at night was over. The days were spend looking out at the still world sitting in my aunt’s house which had big windows called “Baari” in Gujrati.
One day while the curfew was relaxed in the morning and I was just trying to settle down for the day in my throne,I heard my brothers playing cricket in the Gully. Somebody had hit a sixer and they were all cheering him up loudly. Suddenly, their banter stopped. And then I saw a man with a bat running in the street. He was bleeding severely. And then I saw a big group of men,young boys and big men, running behind him with swords in their hands. That ended the relaxation hours and the curfew was further extended for a fortnight. Later on we came to know that the ball which the injured boy had used to hit a six with had landed in the other gully where people of the other community were paying their respects to their Gods.
What followed were actually the best,most memorable summer holidays I ever spent with my cousins. The days would be spent playing chess,cards and other board games while the nights were utilised for learning everything about various topics such as the Oscars, Wimbledon and the FIFA world cups. Aunties pampered us with their cool snacks and drinks. And we entertained them with our tricks and stunts. I could never equate the feeling of joy I had experienced during the curfew with a friend of mine who had just returned from the Kashmir valley facing years of long curfews, identification parades and total black outs during firings.
FUN VS RAPE VS CURFEW
While the nation ponders at the hanging of merciless Rapists of Nirbhaya and whether curfews should be put on boys or girls to stop them from being victims of such horrendous acts, I am reminded of the old debate about Sins and our Redemption. It is said that for those who have put our faith in the redeeming act of Jesus’ death and resurrection, condemnation has been canceled! We have been completely pardoned—our sins (past, present, and future) are no longer held against us. We have been delivered from an eternal death sentence in hell and have been given the gift of new life here and now and in heaven forever. And now for the same reason that made us believe in the acts of Jesus or any other Messiah for that matter, let us put our faith in this political Messaih who wants us to save our Nation and in turn the World from the Sins inflicted by the Corona virus.
Coming back to the Corona Curfew which our Prime Minister Modiji has tried to motivate us for; Critics will call it another publicity gimmick of the BJP government. But what nobody can forget to notice is how easily he converts a negative connotation of the curfew to his advantage. From days when autocratic rulers or even the government- favoured democratic bureaucrats imposed Curfews to curtail the fundamental rights of Indians; Modiji’s request for observing social distancing through a Self imposed Curfew is such a positive step towards a responsible democracy. The first step towards treatment of any disease is self imposed cure. One has to agree to go through the treatment/precautions as they are in this case; with complete positivity of the body and mind. In this case, where the virus is still recent, its cures unknown; what can be the best medicine to implement social distancing than imposing a curfew on ourselves! Isn’t this very similar to the faith that we show in God or the faith that Basil reflected while repeatedly murmuring “The Curfew must not ring to-night”!
So,Let the Corona Curfew ring this Sunday!
And all of us Redeem ourselves from our Sins!
Happy Corona Curfew!
P.S. And don’t forget to show your solidarity towards our hard working Health workers.